The European Union's Water Framework Directive (WFD) states that its "ultimate aim is to achieve the elimination of priority hazardous substances and contribute to achieving concentrations in the environment near background values for naturally occurring substances". Some of these substances are synthetic organic chemicals that come from industrial activities.
A large amount of wastewater containing tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH) is generated each year in Europe by electronics' and semiconductor manufacturers. Because of the toxic properties of TMAH, for adequate protection of aquatic ecosystems, industrial streams containing TMAH require further treatment before they can be discharged into drainage systems. Current approaches to treatment of wastewater containing TMAH entail high costs for companies and negative environmental impacts.